Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Surf Skate Snow

This last Friday, Good Friday, was indeed a very good Friday.  I took the day off and spent it on the mountain at Kirkwood Ski Resort.  My kids were in ski school and, in the spirit of learning, I decided to try snowboarding.  I grew up skiing and with several years of surfing under my belt, figured it’d be a pretty easy transition.  Well, I was half right.  I felt some of the same flow in my front side turns that I do when surfing and to a lesser extent on my backside turns.  Snowboarding is probably more like skating though.  Unlike surfing, you lean on your front foot when snowboarding.  Also, the board is double tipped so with a quick flip you can ride frontside or backside.  And those riders that really know what they’re doing (or those that don’t but are dumb enough to try) can do lots of the aerials and other tricks you see done on a skateboard. 

But I think the biggest similarity between snowboarding and skating was something that I didn’t anticipate: falling.  To be more specific, crashing.  In most cases, when you fall while surfing you’re landing in water a sensation not unlike jumping off a diving board.  Wheee, splash!  Ultimately, unless you get sucked over the falls and pile driven into the sand or, worse, a reef, it’s pretty benign.  Not so on a skateboard – concrete is way less forgiving.  Well,I learned that  snow on a groomed hill isn’t much different than concrete.  You don’t get the road rash you would on a skateboard, but the wipeout can be just as violent.  On Friday I had some crashes that were literally bone jarring.  I thank God I was wearing a helmet but could have used another one for my ass and probably another two for my hips.  On my last ride of the day, I crashed so hard I thought for sure I had broken my pelvis or hip.  I laid there for a couple seconds and then did the check: twitched every extremity waiting to see if a sharp pain came.  Luckily, it never came; just the deep dull pain that Advil and four or five beers would try to conceal.  Two days later, this home remedy is still trying to do the job. 

At this point you might wonder what the hell this posting is doing on a surfboard blog.  Well, I have an answer.  Despite the dull pain and the humiliation of being a total kook, I learned there’s one important similarity between snowboarding and surfing: pure stoke.  I can’t wait to get back out there and try it again.  I can’t wait to get better at it.  I can’t wait to explore new hills, longer rides, more graceful turns.  When it all clicked on Friday, and those times were rare, it really clicked.  So while I wish for your waves to be head high and glassy, I also wish for your Fridays to be good Fridays.